How fitting that this post has the dubious honor of being lucky number 13.
Cold, Flu and RSV season has officially begun. Last year, RSV landed us in Children’s Hospital for 5 days. Protecting Sam from disease is hard, especially with his big sister back in that cesspool of disease known as Elementary School. This year, I am being extra cautious. Yes, Irene already knows to wash her hands carefully before touching her brother when she gets home from school. This year, I am adding in the step of washing and then using the hand sanitizer.
That worked for a whole two weeks!
Then, at the end of her third week of school, something got past the germ monitors and headed straight for Sam.
At first it was just a little runny nose. Then a little cough. Then a phlegmy chest. Then the three things got together and turned themselves into a pretty nasty cough that caused Sam to vomit.
Still, I stayed calm. I was not going to be that mother that panicked every time her former preemie got a cold. I was too strong for that! (haha)
On Tuesday, things went downhill. Sam woke up in a great mood. He was singing and playing in his crib for around 15 minutes before the coughing started. By the time I made it to his room, he was coughing really hard, crying and gagging. The moment I got to his bed he threw up… right into my hands. I have become an expert at catching vomit with my hands. He then threw up 3 more times. Each time, the only thing that came up was phlegm. Once he was calmed, his breathing seemed better, and he looked happy.
I figured, OK, he got that out of his system and he feels better- let’s continue on with our day as planned.
I loaded Sam into the car to take him to his OT appointment. As we drove, Sam started to cough. Then he started to gurgle a little on what I can only assume was phlegm. The coughing got worse and worse, so I diverted from our planned destination and took Sam straight to the doctor.
They got us in pretty quickly, and took a listen to Sam’s chest. He was crackly and retracting a little when he was breathing. The exam was too much for Sam and he got really agitated, began crying, which triggered a coughing fit, which resulted in projectile vomit all over mommy. Once we were cleaned up, the doctor decided to give Sam a breathing treatment in the office. It took two of us to restrain Sam for the treatment. He screamed and struggled the entire 15 minutes. But, at the end of the treatment, he was breathing much better and was no longer retracting. The doctor told us we needed a nebulizer at home, and to expect to have to give him breathing treatments off and on (possibly more on than off) all winter. She also wanted to put Sam on a course of steroids to help protect his lungs.
So, for the next two weeks, we have to give Sam the inhaled steroid through the nebulizer and albuterol as needed. If you want to know what it is like giving Sam a breathing treatment, imaging trying to give a cat a bath… then make it about 20 times worse.
Sam sees the nebulizer and starts shaking, crying, yelling “All Done” over and over, and eventually he runs from the room to hide. Once I finally catch him, he is hysterical. I sit him in my lap and sing to him while he gets his treatment. He eventually calms down, but my god is it awful getting him to that point. Of course it helps that I show him his new favorite video while he gets his treatment:
Hopefully he will only need this for the next two weeks, and once we stop he will not get sick again right away. In the meantime, it does seem to be working.
Do you have any tips on how to make a nebulizer less traumatic for parent and child?